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Sueño MLS: Close-knit group takes bond from Kansas high school to Colorado finals

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – One of the six finalists from the Sueño MLS 2013 tryout at Dick's Sporting Goods Park last Sunday has dropped out of the talent search and won't be heading to Los Angeles for the ultimate selection from May 9-12.

Miguel Jaime, from Cherry Creek High School, informed MLS officials that he was opting out of the competition. He has been replaced by Gilberto Tovar from Garden City, Kansas, who narrowly missed out on the top five field players last Sunday.

"It's unfortunate that Miguel (Jaime) is not available for the event, but we are excited to give a chance to Gilberto (Tovar)," said Colorado Rapids senior director of youth development Brian Crookham. "It came down to making a difficult decision when we had to choose those top five field players. We felt Gilberto was a deserving candidate at the time and we're happy that now he'll get his opportunity in the finals and with our academy."

Tovar, a Garden City High School freshman, will make another trip west here from Kansas along with with high school and club teammate Erik Barragan for four days of training at the Rapids complex.

"I was kind of nervous before because I didn't have anybody to go with," Barragan said hours after his teammate heard the good news."We've played together since I was eight years old."

Barragan and Tovar will stay with Barragan's extended family again, as they did last weekend with their four other club teammates from Garden City Manchester. The group of six has been together for six years, initiating their decision on Facebook to head west – Rapids or bust.

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The other four finalists include Brian Loaiza from Florida and three players from Colorado — goalkeeper Daniel Ontiveros and midfielders Brayan Arreola and Juan Hernandez.

Ontiveros and Arreola play for Adams City High School in Commerce City, where Ontiveros took a huge step forward in his development by winning the Colorado State Cup with Chivas Guadalajara of Denver in 2010. Arreola currently plays club ball with Tigres UANL, and he was a member of the Colorado Rapids U-15 Development Academy team with Ontiveros in 2012. At 14, Hernandez is the youngest finalist.